Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are both gases produced by carbon combustion, but the main difference is that carbon monoxide poses a great threat to human life safety, while carbon dioxide has adverse effects on the environment, such as global warming. For carbon dioxide, what people can do is to use cleaner energy and low-carbon actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; for carbon monoxide gas, which can pose a threat to the human body, people need to reduce its production, not reduce its emissions.
What is carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a product formed by incomplete combustion of carbon. It is colorless and odorless. It is easy to combine with hemoglobin in human blood, preventing the blood from transporting oxygen. It can cause a coma at light, or suffocate and die at worst.
Production of carbon monoxide
At present, there are almost no carbon-containing substances with a combustion efficiency of 100%. Therefore, in the future, as long as combustion is carried out, carbon monoxide will be produced, but the concentration of carbon monoxide produced by combustion will vary. The main sources of carbon monoxide production include:
- Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters
- Blockage of chimneys and furnaces
- Cook with charcoal or gas grill
- Gas appliances (stove, stove, oven, water heater, clothes dryer, etc.)
- Generators and other gasoline powered equipment
- Automobile exhaust
- Tobacco (cigarettes)
- Worn or improperly maintained combustion units
The harm of carbon monoxide to the human body
It can be seen from the above table that the human body can withstand a concentration of 50ppm of carbon monoxide, but it cannot be immersed in the environment of this concentration for a long time, which will make people sleepy and faint; carbon monoxide with a concentration of more than 50ppm is a dangerous concentration. All kinds of discomfort will occur, and it will only take ten minutes or even a few minutes to lose consciousness and mobility.
Who is most vulnerable to carbon monoxide
Anyone who is exposed to carbon monoxide can be affected, but there is a group of people who are less resistant and very sensitive to carbon monoxide, who are very susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide. This makes it a higher risk group for poisoning, mainly infants, the elderly, people with cardiovascular disease, anemia or breathing difficulties. Therefore, people often see the elderly and children walking and exercising outside. This is because there is a lot of fresh air outdoors, which can effectively reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in sensitive people.
How to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide
The above lists many sources of carbon monoxide. There are many sources, and it is difficult for us to avoid them, but we can take some measures to prevent or try to reduce the concentration of carbon monoxide to a minimum.
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean and adjust central heating systems, water heaters and any other gas, oil or coal burning equipment annually. Central heating systems include furnaces, flues and chimneys.
- Use ventilation equipment and make sure it is well ventilated. Stoves, gas appliances, and fireplaces should all have ventilation systems. If you are replacing any currently unvented equipment, consider replacing it with one that is vented.
- Use potential CO sources in an appropriate manner.
- Appliances should be installed and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.
- Do not use a gas stove, oven or clothes dryer for heating.
- Do not burn charcoal, kerosene lamps or portable camping stoves in your home, cabin, recreational vehicle or camper.
- Ensure regular maintenance and proper storage of items in the garage.
- Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle’s exhaust system annually. Leaks in the exhaust system of a closed vehicle can lead to CO build-up in the vehicle
- Never run your motor vehicle, lawn mower or power tool in an unventilated garage or while connected to a house.
- Use an air purifier to filter indoor air. Depending on the manufacturer, an air purifier works to reduce or remove tiny particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and odorous gases from the air.
Install a carbon monoxide detector
Installing carbon monoxide detectors is by far the most effective way to monitor the concentration of carbon monoxide in the air and to issue an evacuation alarm in advance. Therefore, the types and installations of the detectors are explained separately here. Here is a more detailed description of the detector.
Plug-in carbon monoxide detector: This detector can be used without a backup battery, just plug into the socket, the disadvantage is that the use position is limited.
Built-in battery-type carbon monoxide detector: The battery life of this type of detector is generally 7 to 10 years, and most of the installation positions can be placed arbitrarily, and can be installed by yourself. Here we recommend a 10-year built-in battery-type carbon monoxide detector, which is not only small in appearance, but also very light and fully functional.
Interconnected carbon monoxide detector: This type of detector is mainly a set of products of the same brand, which can interconnect many detectors. When one detector alarms, all detectors can be triggered to alarm at the same time, so that the owner knows that there is danger in the home. The disadvantage is that it requires the same brand of products, it costs a lot of money to buy multiple products, and it also requires professionals to install.
Installation and maintenance
Before buying the best CO detector for your indoor space, check your local regulations, especially the UK and Scotland regulations are the strictest. Regulations for carbon monoxide detectors may include their type or location. In general, a carbon monoxide detector should be installed on every floor of your home, especially near bedrooms or potential sources of carbon monoxide.
Both hardwired and battery-only detectors have batteries, and the hardwired contains backup batteries. The battery should be checked and replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is recommended here that the entire CO detector should be replaced every five years.
Carbon monoxide is a gas produced in every home and we cannot avoid it, but we can minimize the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by opening more windows for ventilation, regular duct cleaning, equipment maintenance and installing carbon monoxide detectors.